Nabil’s Conversion to White Tea

Most of the time we attained (Baha’u’llah’s presence) together with Jinab-i Nabil-i A`zam.  One day in the morning after preparing the tea with Jinab-i Nabil we attained (Baha’u’llah’s presence).  (Baha’u’llah) said, “Servant in attendance, bring tea for Nabil but bring nothing for Aqa Tahir.”  After that (Baha’u’llah) asked, “Do you drink tea in the morning or not?”  This servant did not give an answer.  Jinab-i Nabil said, “Yes.”

(Baha’u’llah) said, “How many cups?”

He said, “Three cups.”

(Baha’u’llah) said, “Do you drink white tea (chāy-yi safīd) or not?”

He said, “Javanese tea (chāy-yi nimsih, a black tea).”

(Baha’u’llah) said, “Do you drink it with bread or on an empty stomach?”

He said, “I always drink it with bread, but Aqa Tahir always drinks it with an empty stomach.”

(Baha’u’llah) said, “Europeans put Javanese tea in the mouth of a snake and kill the snake.”

Jinab-i Nabil said, “So it is an antidote!”

The Blessed Temple said, “The poisonousness of what you are saying is greater than the poisonousness of a snake!  Are you saying that what kills a snake is an antidote?”

He replied, “We are drinking white tea (from now on)!”

During the time this servant was with Jinab-i Nabil, we each drank nine glasses of tea – six glasses in the afternoon and three glasses in the morning.  From this blessed exposition, this servant has reduced the amount of tea and from that time till now I use white tea.

Tahir Malamiri, Khatirat-i Malamiri, 91.  On the idea that tea is a poison and can be used to kill animals, see ch. 4 of Alcott’s 1839 Tea and Coffee.  On the Bab’s injunction to drink white tea, see here and here.

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11 Responses to Nabil’s Conversion to White Tea

  1. SINA says:

    it may be of interest to note that White Tea drinking was a tradition that lasted at least up to the time of Abdu'l-Baha (among the pilgrims and residents there). Yunis Khan writes in his memoir of a time sitting around with some fellow believers and drinking white tea. I wonder when it stopped as a practice–perhaps the War period made import of it very difficult.

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  3. melanie says:

    I have a feeling that caffeine-laden Cola and soft drinks may have earned the same displeasure in those days, had those drinks been around back then, but now our Feast tables are full of it, even with small children helping themselves to this modern day poison.

  4. Bahereh says:

    Interesting read on TEA, interesting, yes, but not a scripture of course, rather a memoir I think . I am glad I am not a snake, so the dark tea most likely may not poison me;-), I will let you know if it does, that means if I quite posting, the dark tea poison has done its job!
    Come on over for a cup of tea & a healthy discussion, we should not be radical, the things are not black and white, you can choose what kind of tea you prefer, & that is what it would be served for you, for me personally I prefer dark tea from the northern provinces of Iran, similar to Darjeeling or Ceylon tea ♡

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